Running Your RV Without A Battery – All You Need To Know


RV without battery: Batteries in a car with wire connectors

Whether you have your trailer set up at a permanent campground or site with access to the power outlet, or maybe your current battery is at the end of its lifespan, you might be wondering if you really need it. Of course, you don’t want to find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere with no electricity to use.

Yes, you can run your rig without a battery. While operating without your RV battery is possible, it is an unnecessary risk to take. There are some modern power converters that will work just fine, while others don’t. So, checking your battery before installing it is essential.

Without the RV batteries, you wouldn’t have a backup plan if your power supply suddenly stops. In this article, I will talk about the importance of batteries on your RV, the batteries that you need to have your RV running smoothly, and what is the best battery to use for your rig. I will also talk about how you can maintain your batteries so that they can last for years.

Know the Important of Your Rig

As mentioned above, though your RV can run without a battery, it will be a significant risk to take if you don’t install them in your van. The battery provides power to your system, and it allows your tail lights, brake lights, market lights, electric wheel brakes, and dash accessories to work. Also, most of your electrical appliances and lighting run on a 12 volt DC power where the batteries provide power.

When you are parked at a campsite, the battery is also needed to convert the current. Without the battery, detectors for propane, carbon monoxide, and fires will not work. These detectors are very important, especially if you have heaters or wood stoves installed in your rig. It will leave you or your family in life-threatening situations, which you don’t want.

Now, not being able to use 12-volt lighting will lead you to be dependent on flashlights instead of using the current lights you have in your rig. Imagine how helpful the battery is to your RV. It can help you avoid any risks and will make your RV living more comfortable.

Batteries You Need: Essential to Keep Your RV Running

Now, all the batteries may look similar, but they cannot be any more different. Make sure that you take the time to choose the best battery for your RV. You need a battery that will help you in the long run and will not break down in just a couple of months. Take note that most RVs usually run on deep-cycle batteries.

Lithium Batteries for Your Needs

Lithium batteries are an alternative to traditional lead-acid batteries. Many RVers who have solar power generation upgrade to lithium batteries. It has a longer lifespan than other battery types, which makes it the perfect choice for your battery needs. They are typically rated for about 5,000 cycles.

The downside to lithium batteries is it usually costs three times more than other batteries. These types of batteries provide continuous power, which makes them more reliable than others. Also, most versions run dependably until 80% discharged, where the discharge should not exceed 45% to promote battery life.

Deep Cycle Batteries for Your Rig

Deep cycle batteries, on the other hand, have two varieties, which are flooded and sealed. It has a unique feature but is comparable for its increased recharge frequency as well as a longer lifespan. The conventional flooded electrolyte batteries are cheaper but require more maintenance.

The users would need to monitor the water levels and fill them as needed. It also corrodes faster and can only handle a discharge of 50 percent. They need to be cleaned and charged more often than other types of batteries.

Sealed batteries are divided into two subcategories and are way pricier than the flooded ones. It requires less maintenance and will last longer. The absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries do not need regular care and can charge up to five times quicker than the flooded ones. It can handle discharge up to 80 percent and can withstand cold temperatures during the winter season.

However, you need to be aware that these are susceptible to overcharging, resulting in irreparable damage. Lastly, we have gel batteries, and these do not need much maintenance. It can handle excess vibration and is not great for inexperienced or newbies to the RV life. It has a slow charging rate and a high risk of damage.

Whatever batteries you choose to use, always check the different factors you need to consider, such as maintenance and lifespan. 

The Best Battery for Your Rig: What You Should Choose

When it comes to choosing the battery for your rig, you need lower-cost but efficient batteries. Know how long the batteries will last and the maintenance care and routines that you need to take note of. Choosing high-quality batteries will give a head start in making sure that your rig is working at its best.

AGM batteries are perfect for RVs because it is low maintenance and easy to use. It may be a bit pricier, but the benefits outweigh the cost. The following will talk about the best batteries that you can use for your rigs.

The 12V 100Ah AGM Sealed Lead Acid Battery

The 12V 100Ah AGM Sealed Lead Acid Battery is the newest and highest-ranking battery in the market. It can hold the charge well during storage and using time. It also lasts longer than other brands. If the battery is in storage, it only discharges three percent, which is not a huge loss and waste.

It is also a tad heavier than other brands and more expensive. However, it is maintenance-free and has a spill-proof feature. The rechargeable battery can be mounted in any position in your RV. It can also resist shocks and vibration. 

The cost of this battery ranges from $200 to $1,000.

ExpertPower 12V 33Ah Rechargeable Deep Cycle Battery

The ExpertPower is the best value for money when it comes to RV batteries. They are AGM batteries which means it needs no maintenance and has a capacity of 33Ah (16.5 useable). It can last around 200 cycles and comes with a one-year warranty period. 

The SLA batteries are durable and utilize absorbed glass mat technology to provide a wide temperature range. It is easy to install, and the valve-regulated batteries will have your system running in no time. The cost of this deep-cycle battery is $67.

Battle Born LiFePO4 Bat

The Battle Born is considered to be one of the best lithium batteries on the market. It has a 100Ah capacity and an average lifespan of 3,000 to 5,000 cycles. It comes with a ten-year warranty, so you don’t need to worry about the battery for a whole decade. It also has unlimited mounting capability because of its lithium-ion batteries.

When considering the cost and time of your purchase, lithium-ion takes the win. It is safer than lead-acid batteries because it has protection against ground faults. The battery is made from 100 percent safe and nontoxic energy and can last more cycles than the batteries I’ve mentioned above.

It is lightweight and versatile, weighing 31 pounds. The Battle Born LiFePO4 Battery has a beautiful design that was assembled in Reno, Nevada, which is the epicenter of the lithium-ion battery world. 

If you have the budget, this is the best battery for you. The cost of the Battle Born LiFePO4 Battery is $949.

Factors that May Affect Your RV’s Battery Life: What to Know

There are different possibilities on why your RV battery doesn’t last as long as you want it to last. Make sure that you know each factor so that you can avoid them while you are on the road. The first thing that you should be aware of is leaving your rig’s battery plugged for long periods of time after it gets fully charged.

Overcharging your battery can deplete the battery cells’ electrolyte levels. When this happens it can lead to reduced battery life and will not last as long as you want them to last. When you have a lead-acid battery, you can add distilled water or any type of water whenever your battery’s electrolyte levels get low.

Now, it is important to know that this will only bring the battery’s electrolyte level back to normal and not prevent it from reducing the battery’s life.

Another factor that you should keep in mind is undercharging. Sulfation is a buildup that happens when your batteries are undercharged or not fully charged for long periods of time. It will prevent the chemical-electrical conversion that your battery will need to work which will then reduce its ability to hold a charge.

When recharging your battery the best way to prevent undercharging is when you are storing your battery so you have to make sure that the battery is at least 80 percent charged if not 100 percent.

The next factor that you should know is parasitic loads which are loads that are connected to your battery that consumes power just like a parasite. This usually happens when your rig is not in use. It includes small electrical devices just like gas detectors and clocks. These can lower your stored power without your knowledge and can reduce the battery life.

You can equip your rig with battery disconnecting switches to avoid this problem. It turns the small electrical devices off and prevents them from consuming your stored power whenever your RV is not in use.

The last factor that you should know is the change in temperature. Your battery can lose voltage capacity as time passes due to exposure to too much cold or heat. Whether you are using or storing your RV batteries, you need to make sure that they will be exposed to too much heat or freeze due to too much cold.

You should also know how to maintain your batteries so that they will last you for years to come. The following section will talk about the maintenance of your batteries and what you should do to ensure their lifespan is longer. Doing this will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Making Sure Your Batteries Will Last

There are a lot of things that you can do to ensure that your battery will last longer. The maintenance would depend on the battery that you have. For instance, lithium batteries need zero to minimal maintenance. However, the lifespan would depend on whether you are traveling with lithium ions or a wet cell deep cycle battery.

When it comes to flooded cell batteries, you need to maintain the electrolyte. Make sure to use distilled water to help reduce the chance of sulfation. The formation of sulfate crystals can occur when a battery is exposed to air. Checking the batteries at least once a month is important. You need to make sure they are fully charged before performing any maintenance on your batteries. 

Cleaning the battery terminals will help remove any corrosion buildup in your battery. To do so, you can mix one cup of baking soda with a gallon of water and use a toothbrush for scrubbing. Using commercial battery contact cleaning products is also a suitable cleaning agent to use.

When charging your battery, don’t allow it to get too low in charge because it can increase the sulfation. If your battery falls below 80 percent or 12.4 volts, the sulfation begins. Make sure to always recharge batteries in a timely manner after using them.

Your batteries should be recharged often. Remember to discharge your battery at 20 percent each day rather than 50 percent so that it can last twice as long. Keep in mind that overcharging and hot temperatures can have a negative effect on your batteries.

Conclusion

Batteries play a significant role when it comes to your RV. It can be used to power the lights and appliances that you may have in your RV. Though your RV can indeed run without it, you will be risking your safety. It would also be best if you considered the different factors, such as maintenance and cost, when you are buying the battery for your RV.

Ash

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